UNGA approves five anti-Israel resolutions, but Palestinians lose votes

The resolutions are part of a package of close to 20 such texts that the UNGA passes annually. No other country has so many resolutions leveled against it.

PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas speaks virtually during the 75th annual UN General Assembly, last month. (photo credit: UNITED NATIONS/REUTERS)
PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas speaks virtually during the 75th annual UN General Assembly, last month.
(photo credit: UNITED NATIONS/REUTERS)
The United Nations General Assembly approved five pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli resolutions on Wednesday, but all texts passed with less support than in 2019 and Israel interpreted this as a small victory in an otherwise dismal situation.
“Countries that supported Israel today have understood that this package of resolutions does nothing to forward peace, but serves instead to entrench the Palestinian’s rejectionist position and deepen the conflict,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said.
The resolutions are part of a package of almost 20 such texts that the UNGA passes annually in December. No other country has so many resolutions leveled against it.
Palestinians enjoy an automatic majority at the General Assembly, so Israel often measures success in that forum even in small doses, counting each country that swings in its direction as a win.
Four of the five votes were approved with the support of less than half the 193-member plenum and because many countries abstained.  
Five countries supported Israel on all five texts: Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and the United States. Brazil either voted with Israel or abstained.
The resolution in which Israel achieved the most significant success was in an affirmation of the UN Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights for the Palestinian People, which Israel considers to be particularly hostile to it.
Austria, Bulgaria, Germany and Papua New Guinea all switched their votes from abstention to voting with Israel in the opposition, casting four new “no votes” and Iceland, which often votes in favor of the Palestinians, halted its support of the text this year and abstained.
The resolution was approved 92-17, compared to 92-13 last year. There were 54 abstentions, compared to 61 last year.
Here, however, Israel also recorded some losses. Cape Verde, Fiji and South Sudan changed their abstentions to “yes” votes in favor of the Palestinians. Ghana, Tonga and Vanuatu that had abstained, were absent.
AMONG THE more dramatic voting shifts was Hungary, which went from a “yes” vote for the Palestinians to a “no” vote in support of Israel on a resolution entitled, “Special Information Program on the Question of Palestine.” Guatemala, however, changed it’s “no” vote on Israel’s behalf to an abstention. Fiji and Nigeria, which had abstained, threw their support to the Palestinians with a “yes” vote, while Uruguay changed its “yes” vote to an abstention.
The resolution passed 142-8, compared to 144-8 in 2019. This year there were 11 abstentions; last year there were 14.
Erdan thanked the countries that changed their voting in favor of Israel and against both UN bias and the promulgation of so many resolutions, often repetitive in nature.
“These countries have sent a clear message on discrimination against Israel at the UN,” Erdan said.
“No other country in the world faces such discrimination in the UN – and it is time for more UN members to join our struggle to challenge the organization’s anti-Israel agenda,” he said.
Among the resolutions that had the least amount of support was the one affirming the work of the “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat,” which was approved 82-25, compared to 87-23 in 2019. Abstaining were 53 countries, one less than last year.
Israel gained an unusual show of support from Switzerland, which often sides with the Palestinians. This year, however, on the topic of that committee, switched from an abstention to a “no” vote in favor of the Jewish state, as did Slovenia and Papua New Guinea.
Romania, however, which in 2019 stood with Israel and voted “no,” abstained this year.
In contrast, Singapore, which often supports the Palestinians, changed its “yes” vote in their favor to an abstention, as did Eritrea and Uruguay.
ERDAN TOOK issue, in particular, with the existence of so many committees, which he charged promote “anti-Israel bias.”
He added that the “existence of those UN committees is a further stain on this institution’s reputation… Funding propaganda against a member state is not only outrageous and shameful, it is a flagrant misuse of valuable UN resources. Those resources should be used to save lives, not to perpetuate a conflict.”
Among the resolutions that showed clear support for the Palestinians was one entitled “Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine,” which was approved 145-7, compared to 147-7 last year. Both times there were nine abstentions.
The resolution warned Israel against making changes in east Jerusalem and affirmed the illegality of West Bank annexation.
A Palestinian representative said the passage of the four texts showed that support for her people remains strong. She took issue with Erdan’s “flip” and “offensive” comments, including one where he accused the UNGA of being “detached from reality.”
“On the contrary, what was discussed today in this debate is the reality. What was discussed today are not so-called ‘Palestinian talking points’ – these are the international talking points,” she said. “This is the international consensus: that Israel, the occupying power, continues to object, obstruct, to deny, to belittle and to attempt futilely to destroy.”
Israel has become “accustomed to violating the law with zero consequences,” she added. “Only accountability can change this miserable situation and give hope for a future of justice and peace.
“The hypocritical and degrading claim by the Israeli representative that this institution’s approach has failed, perhaps should highlight even more the need for concrete actions by states to implement the resolutions adopted by the UNGA to ensure accountability,” she said.
Separate from the issue of the Palestinians, the UNGA on Wednesday condemned Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967, and annexed in 1981. In 2018, the US became the first country to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan but no other country has followed that move.
The UN has routinely called on Israel to withdraw from the Golan, including in the last decade, while a civil war has raged in Syria. A resolution rejecting Israeli sovereignty in the Golan and calling for its withdrawal from that territory passed 88-9, compared with 91-9 last year. There were 62 abstentions, compared to 65 abstentions in 2019.